When a bushfire threatens your neighbourhood, being prepared could save your life. Some simple household tips, such as ensuring your guttering is clean of leaves, will make all the difference.
If you live in an area that is prone to bushfires or you have shrubs and trees near your house, then it’s a good idea to have a Bushfire Survival Plan and a Bushfire Survival Kit. This way, you and your family know what to do and have any necessary items at your immediate disposal, should you need to relocate. You should also have your home and property bushfire ready for the greatest chance of survival.
Prepare Your Home & Property
Whether you plan to stay or leave in the event of a bushfire, ensuring your home is well prepared throughout the year is crucial. Burning debris and direct flame contact are a threat to homes, but sparks and embers before and after a bushfire has passed can wreak the most havoc.
Here are a few precautions you can take to prepare for a bushfire:
- Clean gutters regularly and remove trapped leaves and bark, this is essentially kindling for a bushfire.
- Clear vegetation and rubbish from around your home to starve the flame.
- Fill gaps in roofing tiles, window sills and under verandahs so sparks and embers can’t enter.
- Reduce vegetation such as long grass and trees for 20 metres around your home.
- Spark-proof your home with bronze or stainless steel flywire screens on windows and doors, or install fire resistant metal shutters.
- Keep valuables, items and documents in a fire resistant safe or metal cabinet, or have them packed and ready to go.
Extra precautions to take in the event of a bushfire:
- Install a sprinkler system to wet the vegetation and your home to reduce the impact of radiant heat, sparks and embers.
- Install an independent water supply such as a tank or swimming pool of at least 5,000 litres.
- Make sure hoses are long enough to reach around your home.
- Create a radiant heat shield using a stone wall, earth barrier, or fence close to your home.
- Plant vegetation with lower flammability, high water and salt content.
- Have a well-managed vegetable garden to act as a fire break.
- Plant trees and shrubs with space between them so they do not form a continuous canopy.
Staying and defending your home from a bushfire takes a great deal of physical, mental and emotional energy. So even if your home is well prepared it is always the safest option to leave early.